Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/61

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Some Emotions and a Moral.
45
 

the mere turning in or out of one's toes at a critical moment? Provence sat with his face half in shadow—there was something which reminded her of a portrait by Velasquez in the pose of his head and the light on his features. What she chose to call the artistic craving in her nature was satisfied. She could call him picturesque. Picturesque, and with a Future! She drew a sigh of relief, and under pretence of steadying a rose which was half-falling from its vase on a table close by him (for with her, even impulse was well-tempered with a sense of the effective) sat down by his side. He tried to remember afterwards what they had talked of, but he could only recall the sound of her voice, the glance of her eyes, the pleasure he had felt when, in one of her quick, expressive movements, she had touched his arm to call attention to a vine which grew outside the window.

Having once decided that Provence reminded her of a Velasquez, Cynthia plunged into open flirtation. On one pretence and another she encouraged him to spend a good portion of his time at the Rectory every day; after a week or so pretence was dropped altogether, and her family were given to understand that he came solely for the sake of seeing her. This stage or affairs was hailed with undisguised thankfulness by the Rector, whose feeling for harmony had been rudely jarred by the necessity for his acting the blind dragon. He had long lost interest in Cynthia's little comédies â deux—they always ended the same way. "Provence is at least thirty, or he looks it," he said, in a confidential chat with Lady Theodosia; "and if he chooses to make a fool of himself over a mere child like Cynthia—a girl of twenty—I really think it would be